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English Department Sindy Rodríguez Worksheet n°____ Date: ___________

CULTURE SHOCK

"Culture shock" is a popular term used to talk about how people react when they are in foreign places. What do you think it means? Read the title of the article and then take one minute to skim it. What do you think the article will be about? Share your ideas with a partner. In this reading, an Australian student compares life in Australia with Iife in the United States. As you read, take notes in the chart below on some of the differences this student talks about.

CULTURE SHOCK by Bob Weinstein


Saying Tamara Blackmore experienced culture shock when she arrived here last September is an understatement. It was more like culture trauma for this adventurous student who left Melbourne's Monash University to spend her junior year at Boston College (BC). Blackmore, 20, was joined at BC by 50 other exchange students from around the world. Like the thousands of exchange students who enroll in American colleges each year, Blackmore discovered firsthand there is a sea of difference between reading about and experiencing America firsthand. She felt the difference as soon as she stepped off the plane. As soon as she landed in Boston, Blackmore could feel the tension in the air. She was about to taste a lifestyle far more hectic than the one she left. "Driving in Boston is crazy," says Blackmore. "It took me a while to get used to the roads and the driving style here. I was always afraid someone was going to hit me. It was particularly ricky since the steering wheel was on the wrong side of the car. In Australia, it's on the right side." Beyond the cars and traffic jams, Blackmore said it took a while to get used to so many people in one place, all of whom seemed like they were moving at warp speed. "There are only 18 million people in Australia spread out over an entire country" she says, "compared to more than six million people in the state of Massachusetts alone. We don't have the kind of congestion you have in Boston. There is a whole different perception of space.� The pressing problem for Blackmore was making a quick adjustment to the American lifestyle that felt like it was run by a stopwatch. For this easygoing Australian, Americans seemed like perpetual-motion machines. "Americans are very time-oriented," Blackmore says. "Everything is done according to a schedule. They're always busy, which made me feel guilty about wanting to just sit around and occasionally watch television. Australians, on the other hand, value their leisure time. The pace there is a lot slower because we don't feel the need to always be busy. It's not that Australians are lazy, it's just that they have a different concept of how time should be spent. Back home, I used to spend a lot more time just talking to my friends." It didn't take long for Blackmore to adjust to American rhythms. "I felt the pressure to work harder and do more because everyone was running around doing so much," she says. When BC students weren't huddled over books, Blackmore found it odd that they were compulsively jogging, running, biking, or doing aerobics in order to be thin. "Compared to home, the girls here are very skinny," she says. "Before I got here, I heard a lot of stories about the pressure to be thin and that many young American women have eating disorders. I'll go out with a friend and just tuck into a good meal and have a good time, whereas an American girl would just pick at her food". When it comes to drinking, Blackmore says Australians have a lot more freedom. "We're more casual about drinking at home," she says, "whereas there are many rules and regulations attached to when and where you can drink in the United States," not to mention a legal drinking age of 21 compared with Australia's legal drinking age of 18. But it's BC's laid-back and friendly learning environment that sets it apart from her Melbourne college experience. "Generally speaking, learning facilities are a lot better in Boston," she says. "In Australia, students and teachers have little contact outside the classroom. It's a formal and depersonalized relationship. CoIIege is a place you go for a few hours every day and then go home. Your social life and school Iife are separate." It's just the opposite at BC, according to Blackmore. "BC students and faculty are like one big happy family," she says. "There is a real sense of team spirit. It's like we're all in this together. Going to school here is a lifestyle, whereas at home we're just a number. We attend school to get a degree so we can graduate, get a job, and get on with our lives." Another pleasant shocker was the close and open relationships American students enjoy with their teachers. It's a sharp contrast to Australia, where college students keep a discreet but respectful distance from their teachers. "I was surprised when I learned students go out to dinner with their lecturers," she says. "We just don't do that back home. Professors deal with hundreds of students and you're lucky if they remember your name." When Blackmore returns to Australia at the end of the school year, she'll have plenty of memories, most of them good ones. BC, like most American colleges, has gone out of its way to create a memorable experience for Blackmore and its other exchange students. A. Multiple choice. For each item below, circle the two answers that best complete each statement.

l. The purpose of the reading is to a. demonstrate that Americans study hard and exercise a lot b. show one student's thoughts on cultural differences between Australia and the United States c. point out some ways in which foreigners experience cultura shock in the United States d. argue that everyone should spend a year as a foreign exchange student


2. Tamara Blackmore says that ______________ in Australia. a. students and teachers sometimes become good friends b. students make a clear separation between their academic and social lives c. professors often do not know their students'names d. universities are not as good 3. Blackmore says that American professors________________their students. a. have dinner with b. enjoy warm relationships with c. jog, run, and bike with d. are smarter than 4. When it comes to drinking alcohol, Blaclanore feels that_____________________. a. there are stricter ruIes in America than in Australia b. the drinking age in Australia is too Iow c. Americans drink more than Australians d. Australians are more relaxed about alcohol than Americans 5. Blackmore would probably agree that_______________________. a. Americans are better drivers than Australians b. American professors take a greater interest in their students than Australian professors c. Australians are more relaxed than Americans d. American women enjoy good food more than Australian women 6. The overall tone of the reading is___________ and ___________________. a, humorous b. thoughtful c. upsetting d. informative Consider the issues. Work with a partner to answer the questions below. 1. Tell your partner about three differences Tamara sees between life in Australia and the United States 2. Tamara noticed many cultural differences between Australia and the United States. Which cultural differences do you think were relatively easy for Tamara to get used to? Which ones do you think were difficult? Why? 3. From what Tamara says, do you think that university life in your country is more similar to university life in Australia or the United States? Why? Understanding the difference between topic and main idea A topic is the subject or general idea of a piece of writing. A main idea is the writer's message about the topic. Typically, writers organize their writing around one or two main ideas. Example Topic :Student learning teams Main idea:Forming a learning team can improve your academic performance.


Topic and main idea of a paragraph Read the paragraph below and find the topic and main idea. Discuss your answers with a partner. Many visitors to the United States think that Americans take their exercise and free time activities too seriously. Americans often schedule their recreation as if they were scheduling business appointments. They go jogging every day at the same time, play tennis two or three times a week, or swim every Thursday. Foreigners often think that this kind of recreation sounds more like work than relaxation. For many Americans, however, their recreational activities are relaxing and enjoyable, or at least worthwhile, because they contribute to health and physical fitness.

1. The topic of this paragraph is: a. Health and fitness b. Popular recreational activities in the United States c. The American approach to recreation 2.The main idea of this paragraph is: a. Jogging, tennis, and swimming are popular American sports. b. There are many effective ways to exercise well and stay healthy. c. Americans eqjoy their structured and organized approach to recreation. Topic and main idea of a longer selection. Look back at the reading and find the topic and main idea. Discuss your answers with a partner. l. The topic of the reading is: a. Experiencing culture shock in the United States b. The definition and theory of culture shock c. Social life at Boston College 2. The main idea of the reading is: a. There are many cultural differences between life in Australia and life in the United States. b. Everyone experiences culture shock when they move from one country to another. c. Students at Boston College axe very time-oriented because they have a lot to do Learning new expressions When you see a new expression, pay careful attention to the sentence you find it in. The sentence can give you clues about the meaning of the expression and help you remember it. A. ln the chart below are five expression with feel that are used in the reading. Below each expression write the sentence in which it appears in the reading.


Used to refers to things done on a regular basis in the past, but no Ionger done in the present. Back home, I used to spend a lot more time just talking to my friends. Get used to means to become accustomed to something new. It took me a whiIe to get used to the roads and the driving style in Boston. Be used to means to be comfortable with something. For six months Tamara had a difficult time adjusting to American customs. Now she is used to living in the United States. Read the sentences. Then write if each statement that follows is T (True) or F (False). |. It took a while for Tamara to get used to living in a big city like Boston. When Tamara first moved to Boston, she wasn't comfortable living there._________ 2. Ellen used to believe in love at first sight. Ellen doesn't believe in love at first sight now.________ 3. When Alice was a child, she used to visit her grandparents every summer. As a child, Alice seldom visited her grandparents in the summer._______ 4. John has had his own apartment for five years, so he is used to living alone. John is accustomed to living alone._______ 5. Though I lived in Mexico for many years, spicy food. These days, the speaker enjoys spicy food.________ Complete the sentences below with the correct form of used to, get used to, or be used to. Example: After he moved to Japan, it took Mario two years to _____________________ living there. 1. When Joe was young, he _____________________ play baseball every day after school. 2. When Americans move to Asia, they must _____________________ eating with chopsticks. 3. Since Ellen has lived in Singapore for five years, she _____________________ the hot weather there. 4. When I was in college, I _____________________ studying very hard before each exam. 5. Ann is married to an excellent cook, so she _____________________ eating delicious meals every day. B. Write down three things that you used to do, three things that are hard to get used to, and three things that you are used to doing on your own. Based on Tamara Blackmore's comments in the reading, would you rather study for a year in Australia or the United States? Why? Imagine that Tamara was coming to your country to study for a year. What advice would you give her? What would you tell her about the food, the students, the professors, and other aspects of university life in your country? Have you ever experienced culture shock? Describe your experience. Which country were you in? How long were you there? What are your most positive and negative memories of the experience? Think of a country where you would like to study or work for six months to a year. What would you do to prepare for living in this country?



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